• Peer-Reviewed
International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control · 2009

Analytical solution to evaluate salt precipitation during CO₂ injection in saline aquifers

Mehdi Zeidouni, Mehran Pooladi-Darvish, David Keith

Carbon dioxide sequestration in deep saline aquifers is a means of reducing anthropogenic atmospheric emissions of CO₂. Among various mechanisms, CO₂ can be trapped in saline aquifers by dissolution in the formation water. Vaporization of water occurs along with the dissolution of CO₂. Vaporization can cause salt precipitation, which reduces porosity and impairs permeability of the reservoir in the vicinity of the wellbore, and can lead to reduction in injectivity. The amount of salt precipitation and the region in which it occurs may be important in CO₂ storage operations if salt precipitation significantly reduces injectivity. Here we develop an analytical model, as a simple and efficient tool to predict the amount of salt precipitation over time and space. This model is particularly useful at high injection velocities, when viscous forces dominate. First, we develop a model which treats the vaporization of water and dissolution of CO₂ in radial geometry. Next, the model is used to predict salt precipitation. The combined model is then extended to evaluate the effect of salt precipitation on permeability in terms of a time-dependent skin factor. Finally, the analytical model is corroborated by application to a specific problem with an available numerical solution, where a close agreement between the solutions is observed. We use the results to examine the effect of assumptions and approximations made in the development of the analytical solution. For cases studied, salt saturation was a few percent. The loss in injectivity depends on the degree of reduction of formation permeability with increased salt saturation. For permeability-reduction models considered in this work, the loss in injectivity was not severe. However, one limitation of the model is that it neglects capillary and gravity forces, and these forces might increase salt precipitation at the bottom of formation particularly when injection rate is low.

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